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Ivy League turn around

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Brown University basketball team has put together quite a season under first-year Head Coach (and column favorite) Mike Martin of Springfield.

Martin took over a depleted roster from a team that was 2-12 in the Ivy League before he arrived. With injuries, there were games where he only had eight players available for action, and somehow they finished 7-7 in the league play and 13-15 overall. They played a tough independent schedule, which included trips to Notre Dame and Northwestern.

Brown’s biggest pre league win was a shocker over crosstown rival Providence, when they outscored the Friars 9-2 in the last 38 seconds to win by one point.

The Brown Bears won five of their last six in league play, and the only blemish during that stretch was a two-point loss to Penn in a game where the officials forgot how to officiate properly. (Don’t get me started.)

Martin’s Bears ruined Princeton’s chances for a title by handing them an 80-67 loss in the season finale. That loss by Princeton allowed Harvard to win the league title. Brown dropped both tilts with Harvard this season; one was an 89-82 double overtime loss to the Crimson.

The Ivy League plays all of their league games on Fridays and Saturdays, which allows Martin to hit the recruiting trail during the week. He is encouraged with the results of his country-wide excursions and is waiting for everything to become official before he can announce the players that will strengthen next year’s roster.

“We have kids committed from Texas, North Carolina, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New Jersey, and we are very encouraged,” he said. “One prospect is 6’10”, and we are looking forward to getting him on campus.”

Martin was an assistant coach at Brown and the University of Pennsylvania before landing his current post.

The biggest difference being the top guy compared to one of the staff: “Assistant coaches make suggestions, the head coach makes decisions. Everything regarding your program goes through the head coach; he has to consider all the options and then make the call for everything from recruiting to team policies to practice sessions to in game strategy – that is the job of the head coach.”

I’ve noticed that teams like Louisville and Duke have many assistant coaches on their bench and wondered if the AD at Brown would allow Mike to hire on a few extra coaches.

“Their budgets are a little different than mine; I like my staff, they work hard and we do okay,” he said.

It appears that Coach Martin will be satisfied to fill those empty seats on his bench with some healthy bodies in uniform for next season. He loses only three seniors to graduation, and his squad looks to make some noise next season in the Ivy League.

We will look for Mike Martin and his staff in Atlanta for the Final Four. I have a feeling he will not go unnoticed among his coaching peers. He has arrived, and people better start taking notice, he is here to stay.

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Posted by on March 14, 2013. Filed under Berkshire Sports Guy,Columns,Opinion,Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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